Singer gives fans what they want with sassy, sorrowful record
The Santa Clara
February 21, 2019
Every decade of pop music has its own recognizable sound. Against competition from artists like Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande has kept her energy headstrong in the industry. Although her previous album “Sweetener” is barely six months old, “thank u, next” has not only accelerated her career but has kept her previous hits as timely as their headlines.
This album has earned Grande a diamond tiara as this latest release officially crowns her the new queen of pop.
Grande has gone through a rollercoaster year of events. Despite the Manchester bombing, her engagementslash-breakup with Pete Davidson and the tragic death of ex and fellow musician Mac Miller, Grande seems to have found herself in “thank u, next.” Unlike singers who go into hiding after public quandaries gone wrong, Grande addresses her scandal and acknowledges the mistakes in these songs.
Grande’s real adult problems didn’t bring her down and have instead brought more fame and support from her fans.
The song “needy” unravels like a one-way text conversation with a lover (“Sorry if I’m up and down a lot/ Sorry that I think I’m not enough/ And sorry if I say sorry way too much”) and leads right into “NASA,” a song about needing space from everyone even though she’s still missing that special person. Songs ricochet between moods of sadness, neediness and wanting space, which almost feels rebellious because of the way pop music has treated women’s emotions as unpredictable and paradoxical, like hurdles that can be ignored or worked around. Grande adds her own personal flair to the chant of female anthems by skipping the cliche of “the woman defeating the man” and allowing her vulnerabilities to build trust with her listeners.
“thank u, next” is Grande’s reflection of her steadfast determination and spontaneous moves within the music industry. “My dream has always been to be . . . obviously not a rapper, but, like, to put out music in the way that a rapper does,” she told Billboard in December. “It’s just like, ‘Bruh, I just want to f*cking talk to my fans and sing and write music and drop it the way these boys do.” In retrospect, “thank u, next” feels like a followup to complete “Sweetener’s” catharsis. When Grande released the title track as a single, it felt like she was back on track with her style of music.
On “ghostin,” the lyrics give subtle references to her then-fiance Davidson as well as her recently deceased ex. The song is warm but chilling. “Though I wish he were here instead, don’t want that living in your head/ He just comes to visit me when I’m dreaming every now and then,” she chants. It’s a stunning performance and bridge between a post-tragedy and her survival of inner strength.
“7 rings” became a big radio hit which isn’t surprising because of how catchy the beat is. The song is a boost of confidence for both males and females along with the phrase “You like my hair? Gee, thanks, just bought it” which has become a title trend on both Instagram and Twitter.
The payoff of the album comes with “break up with your girlfriend, I’m bored,” which is surprisingly the last song to arrive after all the heartache, joy and sass. The song is right after “thank u, next” and when Grande says, “I know it ain’t right, but I don’t care,” she’s showing her old, bad habits and that she’s ready to play with fire.
There are no unnecessary artist features, no duets, no identical songs, thus giving Grande a chance to soak up her spotlight with pride. When she surprised her fans last fall with “thank u, next” no one had expected more than a quick hot single, yet it turned into a catchy hip-hop mixtape.
The whole project has reached a new level of savage and sweet and fans love this empowering energy. While Grande’s public image took a hit in recent months, she allowed her mistakes to underscore her personal transparency and used her voice to ultimately motivate others.
The album is a highly polished product but feels like an authentic, personal statement. Grande has taken advantage of her fame to positively influence her fans and to reassure others that they can recover from their past just as she did.
Contact Azariah Joel at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.